One of Britain’s best kept winter secrets are the amazing ski resorts that can be found in Scotland. There are five main resorts in Scotland; Cairngorm, Glencoe, Glenshee, Nevis Range, and the Lecht, each of which provides ski enthusiasts with an abundance of first class slopes. Skiing in Scotland has a huge number of advantages over slopes in the rest of Europe, not least the fact that travel and accommodation costs are just a fraction of the price you would endure for a trip to Europe or further afield. The entire skiing experience in Scotland is unique to the rest of the world, and many seasoned skiers return to Scotland year on year once they have discovered the beauty and excitement of the region.
Cairngorm Ski Resort
Cairngorm Mountain is widely regarded as being the best place to Ski in Britain due to its fantastic scenery, exhilarating slopes, and entertaining après ski activities. It also usually has the longest season of the Scottish resorts, lasting from December until at least April. Whether you are desperate to hit the slopes, or you simply wish to experience the Scottish Highlands, you certainly won’t be disappointed with a trip to Cairngorm. The mountain boasts Scotland’s only funicular railway, which takes you up to the magnificent Ptarmigan Top Station, where the panoramic views of the landscape are second to none. For those who are not planning to strap on their skis with the rest of their party, there are plenty of things to keep you entertained on the mountain such as Britain’s highest restaurant, the mountain exhibition, and even sledging.
The Scottish Ski Slopes
Cairngorm resort hosts 7 green runs, 6 blue, 8 red and 1 black, offering a wide variety for skiers of all levels and abilities. There are private and group lessons available, providing a fun and interesting way for absolute beginners to hone in their skills before setting off on their own for the first time. As well as the vast range of ski runs, there is also an impressive terrain fun park that is a freestyler’s dream location. A ski pass for the resort costs around £30 per day for an adult and £20 for children, with discounts available for students, seniors, and families. You can also hire out all of the equipment you could possibly need for your adventures on the slopes. For a basic ski or board and boot hire it will cost less than £25, for a full kit including trousers and jacket it will cost around £40. A day’s worth of instruction can be found for around £85.
Given that the British weather conditions can be extremely varied, snowfall is not always guaranteed on the slopes. Thankfully you can check up on ski conditions before planning a trip to ensure that you will not be disappointed. There are daily reports and forecasts posted online so you can check for bad weather conditions each day before heading out.
Getting out on the slopes is only part of the joy of a ski holiday, with the après ski and alternative activities in the region providing a wealth of entertainment for people to take advantage of. Aviemore is a vibrant and bustling town close to Cairngorm, and it is a focal point of activity during the ski season. With a host of bars, restaurants, shops and pubs, you can relax and unwind after a hard day on the slopes.
Exploring Scotland in Winter
Many people take the opportunity of a ski trip to Scotland to get out and explore more than just the slopes. There are some fantastic locations in the Scottish Highlands to see unusual wildlife, spectacular scenery, and even get involved with some extreme sports activities and outdoor pursuits. One of the best ways to explore the beauty of Cairngorm Mountain is by ascending the 400m high trek to the summit from the lower car parks and then take a scenic route down on one of the other routes. Cairngorm National Park is the largest in the UK, and there are opportunities to get involved with white water rafting, rock climbing, and even a round of golf in some of the most beautiful surroundings in Europe. Whilst in Scotland it is possible to take advantage of cruises from the UK that depart from Greenock and Leith on their way to Northern Europe. Combining a short ski break with a weekend cruise could be the perfect blend of action, adventure, and relaxation during the winter months.